This is a legacy documentation space! Please refer to V-Ray Next for Maya help for most up-to-date information.

This page provides information on the Normals Render Element which creates a normals image from surface normals in the scene.


Page Contents



vrayRE_Normals is a render element that stores the camera space normal map using the geometry's surface normals. The Normals Render Element is useful for adjusting lighting in the composite. For example, the red, green and blue channels can be adjusted in compositing software.

Bump maps are not represented in this render element; to include bump maps, use the Bump Normals Render Element.




UI Path: ||Render Settings window|| > Render Elements tab > Normals


The parameters for this render element appear in the Attribute Editor under Extra V-Ray Attributes.




Enabled – When enabled, the render element appears in the V-Ray Virtual Frame Buffer.

Deep output – Specifies whether to include this render element in deep images.

Filename suffix – The text added to the end of the rendered file, when saved as a separate file (e.g. myrender.normals.vrimg).

Filtering – Applies the image filter to this channel. Image filter settings are in the Image Sampler rollout in the VRay tab of the Render Settings.


Normals Color Generation

The Normals Render Element uses screen space to determine the colors in the render element. With screen space in the camera view:

The X axis runs left-right perpendicular to the camera viewing angle. This is represented in the Red channel of vrayRE_Normals with 1 being left-facing geometry and 0 being right-facing geometry.

The Y runs up-down perpendicular to the viewing angle. This is represented in the Green channel of vrayRE_Normals with 1 being up-facing geometry and 0 being down-facing geometry.

The Z runs forward-back to the viewing angle. This is represented in the Blue channel of vrayRE_Normals with 1 being forward-facing geometry and 0 being back-facing geometry.



Screen space XYZ coordinate system
relationship to camera and RGB colors
(Some geometry has been hidden in this screenshot for the sake of clarity) 


Full vrayRE_Normals Render Element




World Normals Render

World Normals renders all visible objects in the scene with a color ramp based on the world space X, Y, and Z coordinates of their polygonal normal, and represents the actual 3D coordinate in space. These can be both positive and negative, so a floating point image format should always be used when saving this output.


Common Uses - Relighting

The Normals Render Element is useful for changing the appearance of lighting in a scene in a composite without the need for re-rendering.

In the example below a relighting workflow is used at a composite level to change the lighting in the scene. Note that it does not create any extra shadowing. This example is exactly the same under the hood as that shown in the Bump Normals Render Element page with the only change being that the Normals render element was used here instead of the Bump Normals render element.



Bump Normals Render Element


The World Positions pass



Original Beauty Composite


The resulting relit composite
(2 point lights of varying intensities and colors were used along with 2 directional lights)